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SI goes berserk gunning down two colleagues

May 28 (DN) A police Sub Inspector shot dead two of his colleagues at the Maha-oya STF camp before turning the gun on himself in a failed suicide bid. The suspect SI is receiving treatment at the Kandy ICU for gun shot injuries. According to Police spokesman SSP Ranjith Gunasekera, the SI who is the OIC of the 69th post of the Maha-Oya STF camp went berserk with his gun killing the two PCs on the spot. more..

SPC faces closure due to huge debts

May 28 (Island) The State Pharmaceutical Corporation is faced with closure due to the massive debts it has run up, The All Ceylon Health Service Union said yesterday. It said the SPC owes drug suppliers over a billion rupees due to the failure of the Health Ministry to pay the SPC for the drugs and equipment it purchased on credit. ACHSU President Gamini Kumarasinghe said the SPC was established in 1971 by the late Prof. Senaka Bibile to protect the general public from more..

Study in English, sit O/Ls in Sinhala leave students in quandary

May 28 (Island) Students of government schools, who are studying some subjects in the English medium want to sit for the G.C.E. (O/L) examination in same language. They said they have to face a Sinhala medium paper despite studying in the English medium. But Examination Department provides English medium papers only for private and international schools. "Students in our schools are studying some subjects such as Buddhism in the English language from Grade 4. But, more..

Buses to block racks with mesh

May 28 (DM) Private buses will soon block the overhead baggage racks with wire mesh in a move to ensure public security, Private Bus Owners’ Association Chairman Gemunu Wijerathne told Daily Mirror. Considering the recent threats to public transport, with two bombs found on buses last Saturday and Monday’s train bomb, bus drivers and conductors were more vigilant about ensuring the safety of the passengers Wijerathne said. more..

Wannabe Bollywood stars nabbed in Wattala

May 28 (DM) Four youngsters from Wattala pretending to be the Bollywood heroes, Shah Rukh Khan, his wife Gauri Khan, Saif Ali Khan and his girlfriend Kareena Kapoor were arrested on Monday after their parents complained that the children had run away from home. The youngsters, all aged 18, had changed their names to those of the celebrities and run away from home in an attempt to flee to India to meet their heroes and try their luck in Bollywood movies. more..

Indian glamour breathes life into Lankan cinema

May 28 (NIP) THE Indian bug seems to have bitten the Sri Lankan film industry. Despite SLRs 150, 000 (US$ 1,400) to SLRs 250,000 ($ 2,325) special tax on films using foreign talent, ambitious Sri Lankan film makers are making a beeline for Chennai and Mumbai in search of stars and technicians who will give their productions the oomph needed to set the cash registers ringing. Recent trysts with Kodambakkam had shown that Indian stars and production values made sound economic sense. more..

World Bank approves US$ 65.33 million for dam safety

May 28 (WB) Sri Lanka depends on 350 medium and large dams to serve the critical energy, human and environmental needs of the country. The wide irrigation and water resources systems set up centuries ago have contributed significantly to the country’s economic growth and sustained human settlements, particularly in rural areas. In addition they provide flood control in the river basins. However, these dams are ageing, which makes dam safety a critical issue. more..

Fighting in northern Sri Lanka kills 16 Tamil rebels

May 28 (AP) Fighting between government soldiers and Tamil separatists along the northern front lines of Sri Lanka's civil war killed 16 rebels, the military said Wednesday. The latest battles broke out Tuesday in the Vavuniya, Mannar and Welioya regions bordering the Tamil Tiger rebels' de facto state in the north, military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said. Army troops, in the worst fighting, killed seven rebels in Welioya region, he said. more..

'Impunity' for rights violators

May 28 (BBC) Impunity for serious human rights violators was the main characteristic of Sri Lanka’s rights record during the past year, Amnesty International (AI) said. The AI also criticised Sri Lanka authorities of failing to introduce a witness protections mechanism, an impediment to credibly probe rights violations. In the annual report, the AI accuses Sri Lanka’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) losing credibility “due to the political appointment” of Commissioners. more..

Rapist’s marriage offer rejected

May 29 (ATO) A senior official in the Ministry of Interior has criticized the director of the Sulaibikhat Security Department and head of the police station of the area for failing to refer the officer, who reportedly kidnapped a Sri Lankan maid and raped her for four days in an apartment in Shaab, to the Public Prosecution, reports Al-Qabas daily. The leader added, during interrogation the officer admitted to charge, more..

Private sector focus on Eastern Development

May 29 (PISL) After the restoration of peace and a pluralistic civil administration in the Eastern Province, investor confidence is returning and it is likely that GDP will grow in what is potentially one of the most productive areas in the country. With the state investing in key infrastructural projects like roads, electricity and schools, after the liberation of the area from terrorist control and influence, the private sector has also begun to focus on the East. more..

The donation of computers and books to deserving schools in Jaffna

May 29 (PISL) On an initiative taken by Major General GA Chandrasiri, the Commander of Security Forces, Jaffna to donate Desktop Computers and school books to schools in Jaffna and the Islands, which produced the most outstanding results at the last GCE (A/L) examination held in 2007, the Peace Secretariat (SCOPP) agreed to facilitate the collection and distribution of goods for school children. more..

Sri Lanka's wakeup call on human rights

May 29 (UPI) Sri Lanka's recent unsuccessful bid to maintain its representation on the U.N. Human Rights Council following a vote by the General Assembly has highlighted the deteriorating condition of human rights in the country. Sri Lanka was one of the initial members elected to the Human Rights Council in 2006 and might have reasonably expected to be re-elected. Every country, with the sole exception of Sri Lanka, that sought re-election was elected. more..

France grants additional aid for infrastructure development

May 29 (GDI) The Government of France has agreed to the provision of an additional concessionary loan of Euro 15 million for the reconstruction of 135 km of highways, 5 main bridges, and a causeway. The agreement to this effect was signed recently in Colombo. A concessionary loan of Euro 64 million (Rs10.7 Billion) was granted by the Government of France in 2005 for the rehabilitation of infrastructure facilities affected by the Tsunami in the East. more..

Sri Lankan 'Education' project receives Stockholm Challenge Award 2008

May 29 (GDI) The Sri Lankan project presented under the 'Education' category emerged on top of the 145 outstanding Information and Communications Technology (ICT) projects submitted for the Stockholm Challenge Award 2008. The final ICT projects were selected under six different categories and the winning Sri Lankan ICT project in the "Education" category was presented under the theme of Shilpa Sayura (Sea of Knowledge). more..

Sri Lanka business chamber condemns assault on media

May 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka's main business chamber Wednesday condemned recent attacks on journalists and called on the government to bring the culprits to book instead of merely promising investigations. "The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce condemns these crude attempts at violating press freedom and implores that democratic principles relating to responsible coverage by the media are respected," it said in a statement. more..

Sri Lanka not to allow mobile phones as gifts

May 29 (PTI) Worried over the growing grey market for mobile phones due to illegal imports from countries like China and India, Sri Lankan Customs has decided to confiscate such cell phones being brought in as accompanied or unaccompanied baggage or as gift. The Sri Lanka Customs has announced that all goods for commercial purposes/commercial quantities have to be imported in accordance with the provision of the Import Control Act and regulations framed there under. more..

Death of Balraj and the dearth of experience

May 29 (TC) The death of Balraj (given name Balasegaran Kandiah), one of the competent and battle-scarred commanders, due to heart attack on May 20, 2008 could not have come at a worse time for the LTTE, which is fighting a losing war with its back to the wall. His death is sure to aggravate the organisation’s ever increasing problem of dwindling number of field commanders with operational experience. And that could affect future operations. more..

Gotabhaya 'threatened' media leaders

May 29 (BBC) Media watchdogs in Sri Lanka have accused the powerful Defence Secretary of threatening media union leaders. In a letter sent to Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, five media organisations have condemned his action to reprimand the journalist leaders. Mr. Rajapaksa has reprimanded Sanath Balasooriya and Poddala Jayantha, the President and General Secretary of SLWJA for taking part in a protest against abducting and assaulting senior journalist, Keith Noyahr. more..

Entire country gripped by war under Rajapaksas - Mangala

May 29 (LD) Leader of the SLFP(M) Mangala Samaraweera alleges that the war that had been confined to the north during the ceasefire has now gripped the entire country under President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Defence Secretary. In the past, claymores went off only in certain areas of the north and the east, but such incidents have become common in Colombo and even Piliyandala, Buttala and Moneragala today, more..

All three A/L subject pathways in English Medium

May 29 (GDI) The Ministry of Education has taken steps to introduce English as the medium of teaching of all three subject streams leading to the General Certificate of Education, Advanced Level (G.C.E. A/L) in 53 selected schools islandwide. Accordingly students will have the option to study Arts and Commerce subjects in English. Earlier, this was an opportunity only available to those studying in the Science stream. more..

New media center to inform public of Govt. development activities

May 29 (GDI) With the objective of informing the public of the Government's development projects, a Media Center for National Development will be launched under the guidance of the Ministry of Nation Building and Estate Infrastructure Development. The media centre will provide details of all development projects launched by the Government and of the projects that are funded by foreign countries and organizations. more..

The fun of a walk to work in Sri Lanka

May 29 (TMG) I have been in Sri Lanka long enough now to just about have a routine. In other circumstances that might mean things could get boring. Here it is quite the opposite. Take my walk to work. As soon as I step out my front door on Kirula Road, Colombo 5 I am confronted by men with armfuls of guns. It is a local security firm and they are always very friendly but I have not quite got used to being greeted by groups of men unloading AK47s from white vans first thing in the morning. more..

Journalist stabbed to death in restive northern Sri Lanka

May 29 (AP) A television journalist was stabbed to death Wednesday in the country's restive north, police and a media rights group said. A mob attacked Paranirupasingham Devakumar as he drove his motorbike through Navanthurai village in the Jaffna peninsula, police spokesman Ranjith Gunasekara. The weapons used in the stabbing attack will be determined in a post mortem to be released Thursday, Gunasekara said, adding that it was too early to comment on possible suspects. more..

Dump the extremists: An open letter to the President

May 29 (LG) Dear Mr. President, you certainly missed a very thought provoking lecture; "The best case scenario for Sri Lanka" by Prof. William Grassie which hit at the very nerve centre of our national problem. Please take time off to read it. You have the opportunity of a lifetime laid out at your feet to go down in history as one of the greatest leaders of the 21st century. Do not let the sycophants surrounding you deny you of this opportunity. more..

'This is the only Govt. whose every plan is a plot against the people'

May 29 (LG) Ravi Karunanayake, the UNP M.P. addressing the Media said that this Govt. has established a world record as being unique, because, every plan drawn up by it is not to develop the country or improve the living conditions of the people, but, rather to plot against the people who elected it into power, looking out for every possible avenue to raise prices, tariffs, taxes and heap burdens on them while giving false excuses and explanations. more..

Should SLA make a move on EPS?

May 29 (LG) EPS - Elephant pass, known for its impregnable defences comprising sophisticated chain linked plexi glass blended by natural defences fell to the offensive LTTE ceaseless waves III formations on the 21st of April 2000. Since then Tamil Tigers have flooded into the Jaffna peninsula. EPS till 2000 remained as a permamnent impregnable cork to the Tamil Tigers alowing SLA maintain supremacy over the thin neck of land dominating all land communications between the LTTE's Wanni bases and Jaffna. more..

Role of SLN in the local & global context with emphasis of future strategies

May 29 (LG) In an increasingly complex world, the mission of the Navy is correspondingly more diverse and composite than ever before. This complexity is global as well as regional, and is likely to remain like this in the foreseeable future. The role of the Sri Lanka Navy, in this increasingly interdependent and globalized world, will be as much dictated by internal requirements as it will be, by the compulsions of the outside world. more..

Floating mines off Sri Lanka against norms, says MP

May 29 (Hindu) “Floating mines in the fringe areas of the International Maritime Boundary Line by Sri Lankan Navy are against international norms and mutual interest. They will pose danger to fishermen of India and Sri Lanka,” said M.K. Shivaji Lingam, Member of Parliament, Jaffna. Speaking to The Hindu on Wednesday after meeting fishermen leaders at Rameswaram, he said, “It is a serious issue. The Sri Lankan Navy claims that it has floated mines inside its waters. more..

LTTE-held territories captured

May 29 (Hindu) The military on Wednesday claimed it had “captured” 600 km of “LTTE territory,” including Palampiddi, Madu, Vilayathikulam, Kallikulam and Palamodai areas in Mannar district. Army spokesperson Brigadier Udaya Nayanakkara said the LTTE has retreated to Mallavi and Tharukkui areas, 45 km behind the Army Defence Lines in Mannar. The military was moving towards Wanni, he added. more..

Sri Lanka sees cushion from India, diversification

May 29 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's closer trade ties with neighbor India and value-added products like truck tires and flavored tea drinks should help it weather a global slowdown, Colombo's trade minister said on Wednesday. Minister of Export Development and International Trade G.L. Peiris said a "double-whammy in terms of food prices and oil prices" had hit the Indian Ocean island country, which is looking for ways to make up for shortages. more..

Vesak Observed at the University of Oxford

May 29 (MB) The Sri Lankan Society at the University of Oxford officially observed the Vesak Full Moon Poya day on Monday the 19th of May. A Buddhist Sermon was organised under the patronage of the Ven. Bogoda Seelawimala, Chief Incumbent of the London Buddhist Vihara. The Patron of the Society is H.E. the President of Sri Lanka. Ven. Seelawimala Thera, delivering a Sermon at the University, emphasized on the significance of Wesak. more..

LTTE media taking on Tamil democrats

May 29 (SLW) The LTTE’s gutter media head Nadarajah Sethurupan alias Dirty Sethu based in Oslo has issued subtle death threats against those criticising the LTTE. In the latest news filed in one of his websites, he has implicated the leading Tamil writer and a human rights campaigner Mrs Rajes Balasubramaniam with the late Maheswary Velautham’s fate. Maheswary Velautham was assassinated by the LTTE bandits on 13 May 2008 in Jaffna Sri Lanka. more..

Lankan citizenship for refugees

May 29 (TOI) As many as 28,500 'stateless' refugees from Sri Lanka living in camps in Tamil Nadu will soon get their Sri Lankan citizenship. The refugees are part of more than 95,000 Sri Lankans living in camps across the state since 1983 after fleeing the civil war in the island nation. Modalities are being finalised for the manner in which they will get their citizenship, Sri Lankan deputy high commissioner in Chennai P M Amza told The Times of India. more..

Sri Lanka Seeking Compensation for Makkah Property

May 29 (AN) Sri Lanka will seek compensation from the Saudi government for the Ceylon House in Makkah, which is marked for demolition to make room for the expansion of the Grand Mosque. The three-story building had been endowed by a Sri Lankan organization to house poor pilgrims from the island nation. “We are afraid that the compensation, if any, will go to the building’s caretaker who had made subtle claims of ownership to the property,” more..

Two rebel boats destroyed in Sri Lanka killing 5

May 29 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's military sank two Tamil Tiger boats killing at least five rebels before dawn on Thursday, and rebel artillery fire killed four civilians, the military said. The sea operation took place off the northern tip of Jaffna and came amid daily land, sea and air attacks in a new chapter of 25-year old civil war. "The LTTE using about five dinghy boats tried to approach a small island off Jaffna peninsula. more..

NPC: Enhance Democratic Norms in the post election period in the East

May 29 (FI) The violent clashes that have taken place in the Muslim-inhabited parts of the east have led to the killing of several persons and to a climate of rapidly escalating tension. These clashes have come shortly after the Eastern Provincial Council elections which the TMVP contested while remaining an armed group whose presence has become more openly obvious following the elections. more..

MIC – Report on Batticaloa Violence

May 29 (MG) The newest Provincial Council in the eastern province is faced with a major crisis soon after the EPC Polls concluded and the Chief Ministers & Ministers and M.L.A.M. Hizbullah who took oaths on May 16 and May 22 in Colombo respectively. Ethnic tensions had boiled over PC Minister Hizbullah’s native Kathankudi that morning (May 22) and five bodies were already at the Batticaloa Hospital mortuary as a result even before he was to address his first press conference after taking oaths. more..

Easy visas for Lankan businessmen

May 29 (MG) Sri Lankan businessmen wishing to visit Saudi Arabia will now be able to secure visas without the need for a letter from a local sponsor in the Kingdom, a development that the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry say will help promote international trade. In a circular dated April 27, the Foreign Affairs Ministry directed Saudi embassies to issue visas to foreign businessmen provided they are satisfied that they are genuine businessmen and coming to the Kingdom for business. more..

Keith Vaz steps down: APPGT in quandary

May 29 (LG) The All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPGT) in the British parliament is said to be in a state of uncertainty following revelation of its exclusive pro-LTTE stand of undermining the wider views of the Tamils in the United Kingdom. APPGT was formed with the involvement of Hon Keith Vaz MP and Hon Simon Hughes MP. The LTTE front British Tamil Forum (BTF) was the steering wheel of this group and as a result only pro-LTTE views were reflected by the APPGT. more..

Tamil Tiger terror machine targets civilians

May 29 (LG) The LTTE which launched offensive actions commencing around December 2005 including stoppage of water from Mavil Aru to 30000 farming families, were earlier driven out of the eastern province by retaliatory measures taken by the government security forces resulting in their defeat and eviction from the region in early 2007. Further steps being taken by the government to neutralize the military capability of the LTTE terrorists has seen more..

Weerawansa and his fellow MPs will act as a separate group in the parliament

May 29 (AT) Dissident MPs of the JVP plan to act in the parliament as a separate group. A spokesman of the Weerawansa faction said Mr.Wimal Weerawansa would take over the leadership of this group. Commenting yesterday’s hard decisions of the JVP at the fifth convention held in Colombo he said JVP’s decisions are not important and it is not unnatural thing for Weerawansa or his fellow MPs. more..

Govt mediates to reconstruct the Thalladi St. Sebastian Catholic Church

May 29 (AT) The government has come forward to mediate in the reconstruction of the Thalladi church in Mannar, which was destroyed by LTTE’s the artillery attack. On 12 February, highly venerated St. Sebastian Catholic Church located in Thallady in Mannar was destroyed by a barrage of artillery fire by the LTTE. “The LTTE fired 15 rounds of 130 mm artillery towards the Church premise around 9 a.m. on 12 February, causing heavy damage to the Church." more..

'WTM under Liberal Party rule, an integral part of LTTE'

May 29 (AT) World Tamil Movement (WTM) was so powerful and influential in Canada that even it helped host Canadian Federal Finance Minister Paul Martin and International Cooperation Minister Maria Minna both of the Liberal Party to a dinner to raise funds, on 6 May2000. No doubt during Canada’s liberal rule, the organization had smoother sailing. Royal Canadian Mounted Police in affidavits it filed in courts after nine years have said that more..

Sri Lanka gain membership in the World Peace Council

May 29 (AT) Sri Lanka has been admitted as a member of the World Peace Council. This organization has its head office in Greece and has more than 160 countries as its members. It is one of the biggest progressive organizations in the world. It represents world peace and opposes oppression, environmental pollution and destruction, separatism, communalism and forced intervention in countries. more..

Protest calls for restoration of democracy to Burma

May 29 (LD) Sri Lankan rights activists have called for the restoration of democracy to Burma. They staged a demonstration in front of the Burmese Embassy in Colombo and handed over a petition to the ambassador on May 27th. The protestors urged Burmese rulers to respect the 1990 election results, which elected Aung San Suu Kyi to power. The unconditional release of the Nobel Peace Laureate and other political prisoners and more..

Protest in Katunayake Airport against Ranil

May 29 (LD) A group of government supporters has organized a protest demonstration at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake against the opposition leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe, who returned from his European tour this morning (May 29th). The protestors charge that Mr. Wickremesinghe has influenced foreign forces to deprive Sri Lanka of a seat at the United Nations Human Rights Council during his tour. more..

Crisis situation in Ratnapura due to chikungunya outbreak

May 29 (LD) A crisis situation has been declared in Ratnapura to counter a severe outbreak of outbreak of chikungunya. According to District Secretary Malani Premaratne, at least one member of every family in Ratnapura has contracted the viral fever in the past few months. Incessant rains in Ratnapura have seriously hampered the prevention of mosquito breeding in the area, she said at a meeting yesterday to discuss the situation. more..

FMM calls for proper investigation into Devakumar's death

May 29 (LD) The Free Media Movement has urged the government to investigate the murder of Jaffna-based television journalist P. Devakumar urgently, meaningfully and impartially. In a statement, the FMM says the repugnant impunity that aids and abets violence against journalists and media personnel must come to an end. Full text of the FMM statement: The FMM reports with deep sadness that yet another journalist was murdered in Jaffna, more..

Education Ministry releases criteria for Grade One admissions

May 29 (GDI) The Education Ministry released a circular outlining the criteria for Grade One admissions to Government Schools yesterday (28). Parents and guardians are accordingly required to forward their applications under registered cover to reach the principals of respective schools on or before June 30, 2008 together with a self-addressed stamped envelope for registered post and relevant documents. more..